What are friends for, especially at church?
One of the fun things about church is looking forward to being able to catch up with our friends on Sundays.
Now, I'm not suggesting that this should be anyone's primary reason for attending a church service, but I think it is important to look at examples, such as teens involved with youth groups, and see how big a part friendships play. This is probably, and reasonably so, a key part of fellowship for them.
My next question relates to those a little older, say at university or recently engaged in the work force, how are we (they) getting to know our friends at church now that we're a bit older?
Bible studies and similar fellowship groups can be brilliant ways to get to know people and have a really important role in building each other up in Christ. This provides a great opportunity to get to know fellow believers.
Another friendship-building activity is serving togetherâin church and outsideâwith fellow Christians. So many times this proves to be a great way to get to know others with overlapping interests and, short of suffering together, it is said that working together draws people closer.
While all these are great and important things, I think we shouldn't forget to have some fun with our Christian friends every now and then.
Other things too
A tried and true technique for having fun is sharing a meal, often dinner, with others. In my experience this is a fun, relaxed way to get to know others in your church, and you've probably all incorporated this into a Bible study at some point.
Other than dining you also have other common activities such as walking, boating, baking, other sports etc. They can also be great fun.
However, there is something to be said for the regularity of youth groups and the likes in building connections between people.
Perhaps we should also be looking to build regular or semi-regular events with our friends at church, a chance to unwind a bit and catch up without anything needing to be fixed, music to be practised or several hundred dishes to be cleaned.
I regularly play board games with a few guys from my church; I joined in the group after moving to Sydney and to my new church. I feel it has been incredibly important in building friendships at church, helping me to become a part of my new church family.
Furthermore, as with a Bible study, seeing the same people each week, you can keep a connection with them, being aware of what is happening for them in their lives each week.
I am now married so this too has placed a different complexion on the nature of friends at church. One of my fellow young writers recently wrote on this subject in relation to being a new mum where friendships take on new meaning and direction.
From my experience at university, now graduated and starting a doctorate, I'd like to encourage church families to continue to pay attention to the small groups of friends, with their semi-regular hang outs and to all these groups to invite others to join in.
What are friends for? I certainly think everyone should have a friend or friends at church. I encourage everyone to try and make that true for others as well. Friends are an unsung priority.
Sam Gillespie is a graduate Composition student and a computer programmer doing his Honours year based in Sydney. Sam has composed a number of works.
Sam Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html